It’s Friday again (well, Saturday if you’re being technical) and time for a new episode of The Flickcast. Sadly, this isn’t an episode devoted entirely to the new Star Wars movie. That will have to wait until next week.
It is, however, a damn fine episode. Here’s what you can expect from it: Star Trek: Beyond!, X-Men: Apocalypse!, Independence Day: Resurgence!, Mr. Robot Season Two! And a whole lot more! Don’t worry, we’ll stop using exclamation points now . . .until next time.
Picks this week include Chris’ pick of the Showtime Documentary The Spymasters: CIA in the Crosshairs and Joe’s pick of the Syfy Channel mini-series Childhood’s End, based on the classic novel by Arthur C. Clarke. But if you don’t want spoilers, might want to wait to click on that link after you’ve watched.
As always, if you have comments, questions, critiques, offers of sponsorship, or whatever, feel free to hit us up in the comments, on Twitter, at Facebook, Google+ or via email.
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Our interest in FX’s original series The Americans was first piqued after seeing the cool promo art and other materials for the show. Plus, it features a great cast in Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys and comes from some great writers/producers in Graham Yost, Gavin O’Connor and CIA agent turned creator/writer Joe Weisberg.
So, we gave it a chance. And our chance was rewarded. It’s a very good show and we’re enjoying it quite a bit.
Imagine our happiness, then, when we heard the news that FX is renewing the series. That’s right, just four weeks into its first season the cold war drama has been given a seond season of 13 episodes.
“The Americans has quickly established itself as a key part FX’s acclaimed drama line-up,” FX president John Landgraf said in a statement. We couldn’t agree more.
There are two prime ‘seasons’ on the Box Office calendar, summer and holiday. Both represent times of the year where most people like to go watch movies, and as a result, most of the best films get released in those windows. During these seasons there are single weekends that are the marquee slots, reserved for the films most likely to draw in the biggest audiences, the fourth of July and Christmas.
If you want some idea of how much faith Paramount has in their new Jack Ryan reboot, you have only to look at its freshly minted release date for an answer. Kenneth Branagh’s CIA thriller reboot will be hitting screens December 25th, 2013. The new potential franchise starter stars Chris Pine as the titular analyst, Keira Knightley as his love interest, Branagh himself as the villain Kevin Costner in an important but as yet unidentified ‘key’ role.
One of the most interesting developments for this film is the way Paramount is setting the franchise up. They don’t seem content in just developing a new franchise in the style of the Bourne films or James Bond, instead Paramount thinks that there is a whole shared universe of Tom Clancy characters that they can develop like Marvel Studios has done with The Avengers.
So the development of this film has turned into a rather interesting experiment, stay connected to The Flickcast for any future updates.
At first, we were skeptical too. It didn’t seem like Ben Affleck would turn out to be a good director. However, surprisingly, he has.
His next film is the upcoming Argo, which features Affleck in the title role of CIA officer Tony Mendez, an “exfiltration” specialist, who develops a plan to free six Americans from the U.S. Embassy in Tehran while it was under attack from Iranian militants.
The first trailer for the film has arrived and in it we see some of Mendez’ plan forming and get more of a feel for the film itself. Gotta say it, this looks pretty good
Argo, which is set to release on October 12, also features Alan Arkin, Bryan Cranston, Kyle Chandler, Tate Donovan, Victor Garber, Scoot McNairy and John Goodman. Check out the trailer after the break.
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Chris Pine rode a pretty big wave in the wake of Star Trek. He has great on screen presence, looks like a leading man and can even be pretty funny. So he started to pile up some more potential franchises to lead, one of which was a new Jack Ryan movie.
Jack Ryan, for those of who who don’t remember, is the hero of the Tom Clancy novels that were the basis of The Hunt for Red October, Clear and Present Danger, Patriot Games, and The Sum of All Fears. He was sort of like James Bond, if Bond were an american CIA analyst.
Unfortunately, according to Variety, the project has lost it’s director:
With his TV commitments piling up, director Jack Bender has fallen out of Paramount and Skydance Pictures’ untitled Jack Ryan project.
Bender is currently the exec producer on Fox’s “Alcatraz” and is set to helm the Syfy pilot “Rewind.” Par was hoping to get this project into production sometime later this summer, and Bender’s TV workload was making it difficult for him to find the time.
This puts the untitled Jack Ryan film on shaky ground, but there is still hope that this won’t delay the start of filming. The producers have until Star Trek 2 wraps before their movie was intended to shoot, so they have to work quickly to find a replacement.
Hanna is no ordinary assassin. With piercing blue eyes and an angelic countenance, the teenager looks more suited to be homecoming queen than cold blooded killer. Only that was not her lot in life. Hanna has been isolated from the populace in the frigid confines of Northern Finland, learning survival skills from her well versed father Erik (Eric Bana), who is an ex-CIA operative.
It’s obvious that Erik is trying to prepare Hanna for something; in addition to survival skills, he quizzes her in multiple languages, and educates her on topics of science, current events, and literature. Hanna spends her evenings poring over Grimm’s Fairy Tales by candlelight. You could say she is a true Renaissance woman.
The opening scene on the frozen tundra shows Hanna shooting a Reindeer with a bow and arrow. When the creature still writhes about, she calmly shoots it, then dresses it right in the field. She goes about these gruesome tasks with robotic precision and complete detachment.
Later, Erik and Hanna decide it is time to move on from their self-imposed exile; Hanna is ready to go out into the real world. Erik has been honing Hanna’s skills in anticipation of being pursued by Marissa (Cate Blanchett), another CIA agent dead set on getting rid of Hanna. Erik and Hanna go their separate ways, but make plans to meet at a safe-house in Germany.
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Red certainly isn’t an important or groundbreaking film, but it is a lot of fun, and that counts for something in my book. Sometimes that is exactly what we are seeking out, and this film delivers. It’s a blast.
Bruce Willis plays Frank Moses, a man who appears to be living a ho-hum existence in the suburbs. He spends his free time convincing a government employee in Kansas City (Sarah, played by a sassy Mary-Louise Parker) that he has not received his government checks. He is really ripping them up, just so he can call her every few days and talk. The two have adopted a flirty rapport during their chats.
In a thrilling opening sequence, Frank finds out (rather unexpectedly) that he is being targeted by assassins, and he quickly and efficiently employs a variety of weapons and booby traps to thwart their efforts. It is clear that this is no ordinary citizen, you see Frank is classified by the CIA as RED (Retired Extremely Dangerous.)
After he has time to get his wits about him, Frank rushes to Kansas City to rescue/kidnap Sarah, because she will be targeted l if the unknown assailants check his phone records.
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Remember Valerie Plame? She was the CIA agent who was outed by White House Staffers when her husband wrote an op-ed for the New York Times that condemned the Bush administration for fabricating intelligence that led us into the Iraq war.
In the upcoming movie Fair Game, Plame is played by Aussie actress Naomi Watts. Her husband, Joe Wilson, is played by Sean Penn. The film is directed by Doug Liman, who previously directed The Bourne Identity, and Mr. and Mrs. Smith, so he obviously knows his way around a spy thriller.
If I might editorialize briefly, what do you think of casting Sean Penn in a politically charged role? He did star in Milk, but he has been so outspoken about the Iraq war that it seems a little off-putting to me. He is a wonderful actor, and Watts is always solid, so I am sure the movie will be intriguing.
You can catch the trailer after the jump. Fair Game opens in theaters November 5.
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During The Flickcast’s set visit to USA Network’s new series Covert Affairs we spoke with Executive Producer Doug Liman about the origins of the show. Following that we had the opportunity to speak with three of the show’s regulars, Christopher Gorham (Ugly Betty, Harper’s Island), Anne Dudek (House, Mad Men) and Piper Perabo (The Prestige, Coyote Ugly). All the interviews took place on the Covert Affairs sets in Toronto, Canada.
Playing to the extreme opposite of Christopher Gorham’s CIA Officer, Auggie Anderson, is Anne Dudek as Danielle. Older sister to Piper Perabo’s lead character of Annie Walker, Dudek balances the intense CIA action with a life in which the biggest challenge is getting her kids to school on time.
Don’t let the pedestrian existence of domestic bliss fool you, Dudek explains the critical part she plays in the world of Covert Affairs:
“I mean you know the sisterly relationship that, it’s a little more than that because Danielle sort of feels motherly in a way that’s a little inappropriate towards Annie.
But then also, Annie really needs Danielle and they really do need each other. And so I think it’s sort of like well, there’s this huge lie in the middle of this really vital relationship.
And what would happen if that really came out? But everything Danielle knows about her sister is like a complete lie and that’s what’s being built is this web of lies. And so it is a support system that if it breaks down, I mean, it’s going to be really, really bad news.”
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